Not only are the bridgespans NOT the problem up there, but the federal high-capacity-transit money could just as easily go to support bus rapid transit as light rail. That would have the additional benefit of allowing a new bridge to be high enough to avoid interference with river shipping (the reason that the proposed form of the CRoCk --- "Columbia River Crossing" -- is too low to allow all current shipping to pass is that light rail can't climb for squat, so the proposal is to buy off the existing upriver shippers whose shipments would be impeded).
I'm not a light-rail basher; for years I've supported good light rail projects in appropriate settings. But the cross-river proposal on offer up there is simply a civilian form of contractor-capture of the proposal of Pentagon-esque proportions.
There's a common-sense alternative proposal that makes a TON of sense for dealing with the Portland-Vancouver link. Of course, it doesn't cost nearly enough to excite the contractors pulling for the Full Monty Bridgeasaurus.
No surprise to see the SJ pimping the CRoCk though -- they've gone all in for the absurd "Salem River Crossing" and the last thing they want is for ODOT to start making decisions based on logic and reason instead of political pull.